A. W. McKay (?-2012)


You once told us that

you dread any sentences that begin with, “you once

       told us…” or “you said…”

             However you also told us once that of your three greatest fears in life, one is


                  you will

                      never fall in love again.

                         I fall in love every day and I struggle to find a stasis there, perhaps        

                         there isn’t one.

                           Romantic ideals meet spanning time and they do not get along.

                           You said that we could figure things out for ourselves.

                         You told our class that the secret of life is context but that, like the      

                         back of a math textbook, it could be helpful to know this secret before             

                         understanding its application. And context and context again, it proves

                         itself true;

                      I value truth as it functions, contextually,

                  My life is a series of contexts, consciously. But only consciously

             and isn’t that just so limiting?.

       What more are we looking for? (Closing eyes, breathing, question disintegrates.)

       What more are we looking for? (For the more from which looking doesn’t mean.)

             What more are we looking for, and why stop there?

                  You once told our class about synesthesia but I never thought of it as

                      the prevailing mode of sensing until visceral made sense—visceral        

                      vicissitudes—until content adorned rhythms as an afterthought,    

                        unthinking or

                         thinking after is before.

                         You told us not to play slapping games. And yet I sometimes do.

                         You told us that life isn’t about making money, that it isn’t about       

                         unmitigated freedom, that it is about public soup in the middle of

                         Parisian nights, that it is about keeping the lid on the sheep dip (And I

                         include the latter not frivolously but probably glibly). You told us hard


                          You told us that even (and especially) when there is little one can do,  

                             one must do all one can.

                             You told us that if we believe we are realists, we are probably         

                             romantics and that if we believe we are romantics we are probably  


                           I want to grow old with Matthew and I want to imagine fulfillment but

                        I honour unpredictability and I imagine ironically.

You told us that every morning you look at yourself in the mirror and say,

“I look handsome, I look smart, I am a walking work of art,”

                           and you told us one day that you had forgotten and that you were in   

                              tears before six in the morning.

                                  You told us about eye contact.

You told me (in French) that I had a beautiful face (and in writing!)         

                  and that had been something that I hadn’t before accepted.

                              When I first met Matt, I asked him if he knew that he was beautiful, 

                              that he is beautiful. He had never before been told that he is

   beautiful.  Or at least he told me that.

             You once told us that Austyn was your favourite and that

the brown-nosed reindeer could go as fast as the others but couldn’t stop as fast.

   Subversive and sensitive, breathing and breath.

       You once told us to go to bed every night with more to think  

       about than the night before. And every day I experience this and 

       every day is

                          too much and one thought fills immensity and every

                                every day is as proportionless as death.

And all of these things that you told us a decade ago  popped into my consciousness today, just now, without force, wide awake.

I forget a lot of what you said, but not into some bottomless void; I forget it into the nebulous non-conscious processes that inform my life beyond, before, and alongside my conscious beliefs and aspirations: sublime, unimaginable contexts.

November 15, 2012